Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Bellis beats Radwanska: ‘It’s definitely the biggest win of my career’

Catherine Bellis, just six months into her professional career, gave an exciting glimpse into the future of women’s tennis, playing some electrifying shots to oust 2012 Dubai champion and No 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Catherine Bellis of the USA in action against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland during their third-round match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis WTA Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 22, 2017. EPA
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DUBAI // Catherine Bellis, just six months into her professional career, gave an exciting glimpse into the future of women’s tennis, playing some electrifying shots to oust 2012 Dubai champion and No 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Bellis, who will celebrate her 18th birthday on April 8, belied her young age, matching the world No 6 stroke for stroke, which is no mean achievement given Radwanska’s shot-making abilities. And when the Pole cranked up the pressure after winning the second set, the American refused to wilt and instead raced through for a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 win.

“I think in the second set she started playing a little bit better and I went off a little bit,” said Bellis, who turned professional two weeks after reaching the third round of the US Open last year.

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■ Day 4: Angelique Kerber cruises past Monica Puig and into semi-finals

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“I think I was going for a little bit too much. So I just told myself stay calm and go back to my game and what I was doing in the first set.”

This is Bellis’s first win over a top-10 player and it comes in her first main draw appearance of 2017.

The world No 70 started her season in Doha last week after missing the first six weeks of the season due to a strained hamstring, but failed to qualify for the main draw.

In Dubai this week, however, she has looked a million dollars and showed just why she is considered the future of women’s tennis, hitting 24 winners to Radwanska’s 17.

“It’s definitely the biggest win of my career, and probably one of the best days of my life,” said Bellis, who beat Dominika Cibulkova, the world No 12 at the time, in the opening round of the 2014 US Open.

“I’m really just enjoying it more, just thinking about how much fun I’m having and what an experience it’s been for me so far,” Bellis said, unable to conceal her joy.

“I have had kind of a dream couple of months since I have turned pro, but obviously it’s not always going to be as happy-go-lucky, so I have been really lucky so far.”

RESULTS

Singles third round:

C Bellis (USA) beat [4] A Radwanska (POL) 6-4, 2-6, 6-2

[1] A Kerber (GER) beat M Puig (PUR) 6-2, 6-3

[7] E Svitolina (UKR) beat C McHale (USA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

L Davis (USA) beat E Makarova (RUS) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3

Q Wang (CHN) beat K Mladenovic (FRA) 6-1, 6-4

A Konjuh (CRO) beat [8] E Vesnina (RUS) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4)

A Sevastova (LAT) beat S Peng (CHN) 6-4, 6-3

ORDER OF PLAY

Centre Court (start 2pm)

A Sevastova (LAT) vs Q Wang (CHN)

[7] E Svitolina (UKR) vs L Davis (USA)

Not Before 7pm

C Bellis (USA) vs K Bondarenko (UKR) or [10] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs

[1] A Kerber (GER) vs A Konjuh (CRO)

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